Vijayawada : State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday issued a notification for the first phase of Gram Panchayat polls even as the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government informed the poll body that the time was not conducive for the exercise.
Efforts of the AP government and employee unions to move Supreme Court challenging the order of the high court on Panchayat elections did not fructify.
The state government and Andhra Pradesh Government Employees Federation (APGEF) had moved separate petitions on Friday, but Supreme Court registry found defects in their pleas.
State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar said the Gram Panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh will be held in four phases beginning February 5, 2021. He said the model code of conduct (MCC) has come into effect from Saturday.
The elections will be held on the basis of 2019 electoral as Panchayat Raj department failed to submit the latest rolls.Nimmagadda said conducting Gram Panchayat elections with minimum staff is a major challenge. Despite the Court orders, the AP government hasn't released the necessary funds to conduct the elections.
Nimmagadda said that some states have conducted the local body as well as Assembly elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, government employees in Andhra Pradesh hesitate to join poll duties.
In the state capital, a fresh round of wrangling broke out between Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar and the government. This follows the government assertions that it would be "ready to conduct the elections after 60 days of completion of the first round of (COVID-19) vaccination of frontline personnel."
The state government maintained it has taken a consistent stand that the present situation is not conducive for the conduct of elections.
In a related development, the Chief Secretary turned down the SECs order for removal of nine tainted officers including two district Collectors and a Superintendent of Police.